It seems that online retailers don’t need physical shop fronts because their customers are using existing Bricks and Mortar shops to test products and then buy them online…
Online retail shops enjoy a sustainable competitive advantage
The Bricks and Mortar retailer must pay rent and overheads, keep a large number of staff, and pay thousands for advertising in print, on TV or on the radio to push customers to his/her store.
Online retail shops do not have the overhead costs of their Bricks and Mortar counterparts and they can do business anywhere 24/7. They can therefore offer a large variety of products, at better prices to retail customers.
Bricks and Mortar shops are subsequently losing customers at an alarming rate to online competitors.
Shoppers that can’t feel, smell and fit online need shop fronts
There are some things that retail customers want, that pure online retail shops can’t offer.
The savvy online shopper will visit a Bricks and Mortar retail shop to find, test and fit a product he/she wants and then will buy it online from an online retailer at a reduced price.
The Bricks and Mortar retail shops are thus reduced to fitting venues for the customers of online retailers.
Should Bricks and Mortar shops ask customers an entrance fee?
How should Bricks and Mortar shops control visits from non-buying customers?
I have read a somewhere comment that Bricks and Mortar retail shops should charge an entrance fee in order to discourage online customer using it as a fitting venue.
This is however a paradox – the retailer must get feet in his/her shop to do business. An entrance fee may have the opposite result…